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Wide Receiver Matchups to Target in Week 16


We're in the home stretch of the NFL season. The fantasy football playoffs are upon us, and injuries continue to rack up. Picking on the backups that precede starting defensive backs is a common strategy among DFS players, simply because it's a solid process. Fortunately, we have plenty of data to break down those matchups and pick the best ones to target for the coming week.

Nothing is more important than matchup analyzation when it comes to fantasy football. Playing your teams’ best players on a regular basis is important, but picking apart the top matchups on a week to week basis can win you a championship, or even better, some cold hard cash in DFS. Matchups for the wide receiver position aren’t always as black and white as they can be for other positions. Receivers need to be broken down even deeper by analyzing the potential cornerback matchup they’re going to draw. This is especially true in potential shadow coverage cases such as any time an X receiver plays against Patrick Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals. Some analytical data used here such as fantasy points allowed per route covered, and percentage of routes run on the left side, right side, and in the slot is courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Now, here are the top WR vs CB matchups for Week 15. Use these to set season-long lineups, as well as gain a competitive edge in the Daily Fantasy realm.

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WR/CB Matchups to Target

NE WR Julian Edelman Versus BUF CB Rafael Bush

Julian Edelman was all but dominating the receiving usage before the announcement about Josh Gordon came forward. Edelman has drawn a team-high 25-percent of the Patriots' targets, as well as 26-percent of their total air-yards. Gordon stepping away leaves a hefty chunk of volume up for grabs. Gordon has seen 200 air-yards on 18 targets over the past month.

This is a favorable matchup in the slot as well against Rafael Bush, who has allowed 13 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns when guarding the slot this season. Given that Edelman has seen at least 10 targets in five of his last seven games, this is the matchup I expect New England to isolate the most often in Week 16.

 

CHI WR Allen Robinson Versus SF CB D.J. Reed Jr.

The Chicago Bears have been playing with a plethora of unique personnel packages ever since Adam Shaheen returned from IR. Several of these packages include Allen Robinson lining up in the slot. Robinson has run 65 routes from that spot over last four games. I like the concept of maneuvering the big-bodied receiver all around the formation, especially if they continue with it this week against the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers have been using 2018 fifth-round pick D.J. Reed to guard the slot over the past two games, which could create a colossal mismatch should Robinson run a dozen or more routes from there. Robinson has drawn a 25-percent target share, and he leads his team in air-yards by a fairly wide margin over the last three games. The former Pro-Bowler has plenty of upside in Week 16, especially given his $5,400 price tag.

 

HOU WR Demaryius Thomas Versus PHI CB De'Vante Bausby

Before we talk about Demaryius Thomas, we should get this out of the way: DeAndre Hopkins is going to manhandle whichever corner lines up to guard him on Sunday. He's as safe a pick to smash as they come on the main slate, which makes him a great option for cash games.

As far as Thomas goes, He has a great matchup as well against De'Vante Bausby. Don't feel bad, by the way. I had no clue who this was either before last week. The Eagles' secondary is a complete and utter mess. Bausby has allowed six catches on as many targets for 129 yards and a touchdown since becoming a starter, for a perfect passer rating when targeted of 158.3. It's not like Thomas isn't seeing opportunity, either. Despite Hopkins vacuuming usage, Thomas has still drawn 19 targets and 167 air-yards over the last three games. He's only $4,700 on DK, and he's a great option for those looking to pay down at WR in order to unlock an Ezekiel Elliott-Saquon Barkley stack.

 

SEA WR David Moore Versus KC CB Orlando Scandrick

Would you believe me if I told you that only Keenan Allen has a higher percentage of his teams air-yards over the last three weeks than David Moore? He's only caught just one of his eight targets over that span, which could actually work out in our favor. The dwindling efficiency should keep the field off him this Sunday in a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. I'm not genuinely in love with the matchup, as Orlando Scandrick has actually played his share of solid football this year. This play is more about value and high upside dart-throw opportunity.

Moore plays Sunday night, so you can't use him as your cheat-code for the main slate. But he is a stone-cold lock for me on the Sunday night showdown. I also wouldn't hesitate to use him in your MVP-slot to create some unique roster construction. You could also spot-start Moore in a pinch if you were an Odell Beckham owner in season-long leagues.

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